San Francisco

Man with 100pg rap sheet pleads not guilty to FBI employee assault

A man accused of violently assaulting a female FBI employee walking home after work – just three blocks from the agency’s San Francisco office in the heart of the Tenderloin – pleaded not guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alex Tse.

Akal Calvert-Damu Allen (aka Akal Allen) requested a new attorney during the hearing and the federal public defender assigned to him was relieved as his counsel as a result.

Ac­cord­ing to an af­fi­davit sup­plied to the court, Akal Calvert-Damu Allen (aka Akal Allen) ap­proached the woman on the early evening of Fri­day June 8 and “with­out provo­ca­tion” punched her in the face, im­me­di­ately break­ing her nose.

He struck her one more time be­fore flee­ing, later at­tack­ing other pedes­tri­ans.

At an earlier hearing the court was told that Al­len’s rap sheet “is over 100 pages long and he has con­vic­tions for bat­tery, as­sault, sex crimes, van­dal­ism, and drugs, as well as count­less ar­rests and con­tacts with law en­force­ment.”

The court’s at­ten­tion was drawn to re­cent ar­rests which were said to il­lus­trate an es­ca­lat­ing pat­tern of wor­ry­ing be­hav­ior: in­clud­ing a De­cem­ber 2022 ar­rest in San Fran­cisco for as­sault and bat­tery and a June 2022 ar­rest in San Fran­cisco for as­sault with a deadly weapon.

The vic­tim –  a cri­sis man­age­ment spe­cial­ist work­ing for the FBI’s counter ter­ror­ism branch – had left the Phillip Bur­ton Fed­eral Build­ing at 6:35pm and be­gun walk­ing west on Turk Street and then north on Polk Street. Even though she had left the of­fice, the af­fi­davit ex­plained, she was on call.

Video footage showed Allen leav­ing his res­i­dence on O’­Far­rell Street at about the same time. Mo­ments later he hap­pened across the vic­tim on Polk Street, block­ing her way and yelling an­grily at her. The woman at­tempted to step around Allen only for him to step in front of her again and launch the as­sault.

Passers-by came to the vic­tim’s aid and she was trans­ported to an emer­gency de­part­ment nearby. One week later she was rushed back to the ER suf­fer­ing from par­tial fa­cial paral­y­sis, jaw-tight­en­ing, and be­ing un­able to keep her eyes open – later di­ag­nosed as post-con­cus­sion syn­drome due to the as­sault.

Af­ter the at­tack, Allen con­tin­ued walk­ing and was later seen at­tempt­ing to at­tack a man who was able to es­cape. As he walked he yelled at passers-by. He threat­ened to as­sault a wit­ness (call­ing her a “bitch”) and threw a rock at both her and an­other wit­ness.

Granting the Gov­ern­men­t’s mo­tion to de­tain at Allen’s first appearance on June 29, 2023, U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Sal­lie Kim remarked on the defendant’s dangerousness.

“I don’t think I’ve seen a crim­i­nal his­tory as long as this, of­ten di­rected to­wards strangers, of­ten di­rected to­ward women,” she said.

“Mr Al­len’s his­tory of crim­i­nal vi­o­lence is so long and es­ca­lat­ing in na­ture, I do not feel com­fort­able re­leas­ing Mr Allen based on risk alone.”

On hear­ing that he was to be de­tained, the de­fen­dant be­gan loudly ad­dress­ing the court­room: “She’s ter­ri­fied! She’s ter­ri­fied!” he said, re­fer­ring to the judge. “You may as well sen­tence me to life now.”

The court heard that most of the de­fen­dan­t’s fam­ily live in the De­troit area, with none nearby, and that the de­fense had not yet been able to reach them.

Allen faces be­tween 46-57 months’ im­pris­on­ment if con­victed. He remains in custody ahead of a further hearing on July 11 to identify a new attorney.

San Fran­cisco Po­lice De­part­ment re­fused a re­quest to pro­vide a book­ing photo from one of Mr Al­len’s pre­vi­ous city ar­rests, cit­ing a de­part­ment pol­icy not to re­lease pho­tos.  

“This pol­icy,” said SFPD Chief William Scott in 2020, “emerges from com­pelling re­search sug­gest­ing that the wide­spread pub­li­ca­tion of po­lice book­ing pho­tos in the news and on so­cial me­dia cre­ates an il­lu­sory cor­re­la­tion for view­ers that fos­ters racial bias and vastly over­states the propen­sity of black and brown men to en­gage in crim­i­nal be­hav­ior.”

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